The more in harmony you are with seasonal energy, the better your overall health will be. The seasonal energy of winter continues the contraction and inward movement of energy which began in the Fall. Therefore, Winter is the season to slow down, rest, conserve energy and replenish resources.
Winter resonates with the water element in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the nature of water to soak in and descend to the depths. Water is the deepest part of our energetic system.
“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate the Earth and mountains.” (LaoTzu)
Water is the very essence of life. Without water, life cannot survive. Water is deep, dark, mysterious and represents the unknown. The color associated with the water element is black like the inky depths of the sea. The related emotion is fear. Fear that we will not survive the unknown. Healthy fear ensures survival. Too much fear, which can be caused by trauma or chronic stress and nervous system dysregulation, depletes the life essence, known as Jing, which is housed by the Kidney on the energetic level.
Physiologically, the Kidneys are the organ that, along with the bladder, regulate the water and fluid systems of the body. On the quantum level, Jing, is our ancestral inheritance, which carries the genetic evolutionary material of many lifetimes worth of adaptation and survival. The ancestral “know how” to survive is stored within the Kidney and encoded in our DNA. Jing is fixed in quality and quantity at birth. So, it is important to conserve energy especially in winter. This essential energy is the fuel which powers the human will – the will to survive as well as the will to align with the destiny of your soul.
To align with personal destiny, we must face our fear. Not surprisingly, the archetype associated with the water element, the Sage—who is often pictured as someone in the Winter of their life, such as a Wise Woman, a Wise Man or an Elder— represents the capacity to transform fear and doubt to wisdom and trust. The Sage has faith and instinctively knows when to conserve energy for the long-haul ensuring survival.
Remember that nothing expands forever without contracting. Winter rest stores up energy for new life to burst forth as the fire element is ascendant in the Spring. So, slow down. Prioritize quiet, rest and reflection. Embrace stillness. Sink deeply within and tap into your natural wisdom to access the Water element virtues of strength, resilience, courage and wisdom. These virtues will help you to move forward in the Spring. In the meantime, staying cozy and nourishing yourself with healthy warming foods are wonderful winter self-care practices.